I remember a point in time where I was in total awe of my friends going on vacation with their significant others. In my mind it seemed like such a serious step and I got anxiety just thinking about all the details. Who brought it up? Did you both split the cost? Did it mean that you were both definitely in love with each other? As someone who felt like a late bloomer, I wondered about these things for years.
And then finally came the time when the guy I was dating asked if I wanted to go away with him for a long weekend. I was ecstatic! I was in love! I was so stressed out. These are all the things that ran through my mind while it was happening.
Should I try to hide how excited I am?
Now it seems ridiculous to hide my feelings, but on my first couples trip I was so nervous and didn’t want to give away how inexperienced I felt about the whole situation since he seemed perfectly at ease about it. Just him asking me what row I wanted to sit in on the plane to what kind of room we should book filled me with an unstoppable burst of glee and adoration for him. But I pretended that I was completely chill about the whole thing, meanwhile I was mentally jumping up and down.
Do we split everything down the middle?
After some more relationship experience I realized that adults simply have a conversation about who pays for what instead of wondering about it (duh). But I legitimately wasn’t sure how it all worked the first time. Was your partner supposed to pay for most things because they asked? How many times were you supposed to offer to pay for things. If they paid for the hotel, should you pay for all the dinners while away? Easily solvable mysteries, but at the time I constantly worried that I wasn’t adhering to proper couples trip “etiquette”.
Is everything a sign?
The trip itself was a great time, but every little thing felt weighted with sentiment. The way he held my hand when I got nervous during takeoff, the way he smiled at my delight when our room was upgraded upon arrival at the hotel, and his confusion when we decided to walk instead of cab to a restaurant and completely lost our way like two typical tourists. Even when we decided to not go out one night because we were so tired from running around all day. The simple act of stretching out on the couch and watching television, something we did all the time back home, felt important and different. (Maybe also because of ordering room service, which came with flowers, chocolate and champagne).
How will you handle it if something goes wrong?
Someone once said you could tell a lot about a person by the way they handle lost luggage. That was running through my mind when embarking on this trip. What if something went wrong and I was disappointed in how my partner handled it? Or how would I handle it? Were my expectations so high that it wouldn’t even live up to my standards? I realized that the best parts of the trip were the imperfect ones. The room not being ready forced us to be spontaneous about changing our plan for the day. Unexpected rain caused us to dash into a store where we spent an hour discovering all sorts of interesting books to purchase. Flights being delayed gave us more time to hang out at the pool and extend our trip. Learning that both of you can go with the flow, and laugh at things veering off course creates the best kind of closeness.
Is this a huge step in the relationship?
A friend used to mock me when she would go away for the weekend with someone she was dating because I always asked, “oh wow you guys are serious, huh?” And she would always say “oh that’s so cute you think a trip matters so much.” But it goes back the most basic of rules when it comes to any relationship. Communication between the two people involved. A trip means whatever you decide it means.
In the end obviously I learned that hopping a plane or taking a road trip with your significant other doesn’t turn you both into completely different people. Location doesn’t alter a person’s personality. We were the same regardless of the zip code. But even now? With several more trips under my relationship belt, I still get that same thrill of excitement when the guy I’m dating looks over at me and says, “hey, wanna take a trip together?”